It was the afternoon, about four hours after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley finished his budget speech. I became a bit uneasy to see about 10 or 12 maids crowding my front door. But before I could make inquiries, my old maid informed with a big grin, ‘Saheb, ye sab log aaye hein, budget ke baare mein poochne ke liye.’ And before I could decipher budget, she called two maids to meet me.
It transpired that all those standing outside were working in the houses on my street and had come to know from my maid that I write on the Budget. So they wanted to know about a few proposals in the budget.
‘Saheb, sari aur kapde ke daam to nahin bajaaye.’ ‘Bajaaye’ was a joke and my maid explained that in their terminologlgy it meant ‘mara’ that is slapped. Anyway, to cut it short they wanted to know whether their normal attire has been taxed or not. They were happy to know that it has not been raised. But prices of cigarettes had gone up. They took that impassively and said, thank you, left.
After their departure two British-looking younsters, around 18, came in and asked, “Saheb, lipstick, cream or salwar ke daam kya bhadh jayenge?” I said I don’t think but if they wanted to be sure they could come the next day. I thought they would but then one asked, “Saheb kya daru or cigarette ke daam badhenge.” It is then that I noticed that their style of hair, manicured fingers and overall was such that they must have gone to some salon. When asked, they said they visit a boutique every month. Well, India has developed. None come by car, as in the west, but many maids now cycle to work. and now many know that it is through budget, that prices change. Apna Desh Mahan.